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In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and that Kirsten Dunst would sooner or later make her feature-length directorial debut with her adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s beloved 1963 novel – her only one – The Bell Jar.

According to a report in Deadline, perennial ingenue Dakota Fanning has signed on to play the lead role in a new adaptation of Plath’s roman-à-clef that Dunst has co-written with a friend, Nellie Kim. For the uninitiated, The Bell Jar tells the disturbingly relatable story of Esther Greenwood, an acerbic young woman and aspiring novelist who takes an internship at a magazine in New York in the 1950s before returning home to Massachusetts where she is plagued by mental illness.

“We could be sisters, right?”
Credit: Dakota Fanning on Instagram
Rumours of a Dunst penned adaptation of The Bell Jar have been circulating for a while. Last year, Dunst told IndieWire she was co-writing a screenplay set in the 1950s that was “based on a book” that “most women have read” that “could be so, so didactic and bad or you could really make a life of something [from it]. So you really need to make your own scenes up.”

Dunst also revealed that she was approaching the project “in a funny way. It’s going to be a dark comedy and I already have my actress.”

In an interview with The Gentlewoman earlier this year, the Melancholia actor added that the project had been a few years in the making and that it was Fanning who approached her about starring in the film.

“I’m nervous”, said Dunst. “There’s a part of me that’s like, ‘What am I doing?’ Why would I ever put myself in the position to be ripped apart to direct this?’ I know I’m going to be out of my mind for however long it takes.”

Seems apt. Production is slated to start in the first quarter of next year.

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